(May 2016) We just finished a 12 day wine tour of Southern Italy, and it was truly amazing. It started and finished in Rome, but focused on the three major regions of Campania, Puglia and Sicily. We also included some cultural stops along the way such as Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast in Campania, the ancient cities of Alberobello and Lecce in Puglia, and the amazing seaside village of Cefalu in Sicily.
|Our Wine Delegation in Rome|
The following blog posts describe the highlights of the trip and the nine wineries we visited. There were 28 of us in total – all members of a California wine delegation. Everyone either works in the wine industry, or was traveling with someone who did. Ten were Wine MBA and undergraduate candidates who went on the trip for class credit. See highlights of trip in short video here.
Italian Wine by the Numbers (in 2016)
We started the trip with a quick overview of the Italian wine industry:
- #1 – Italy is currently the #1 largest wine producer in the world
- 20 – number of major wine regions in Italy
- 332 – number of DOC in Italy (now listed under DOP)
- 74 – number of DOCG in Italy (now listed under DOP)
- 118 – number of IGP in Italy
- 370 – estimate of number of indigenous grapes in Italy
Southern Italy – Home of the First Cult Wine
Southern Italy has been producing wine for more than 4000 years. Settled by the Greeks, southern Italy was known as Magna Graecia, or “Great Greece. “The Greeks brought some of their grapes to Italy, but the peninsula already had many indigenous grapes.
The first cult wine in the world is said to have come from this part of Italy. Pliny the Elder described Falernian wine as the most famous and expensive. It came from the slopes of Mt. Falernus south of Rome and in the region of Campania. It was supposedly a white wine of high alcohol level that was available in both a sweet and dry style. Some reports state it was made of Aglianico, which is a red grape, whereas other state is was made of Greco (a white grape).
|Mt. Vesuvius and Pompeii Ruins|